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Dev Biol. 2004 Nov 1;275(1):143-57.

Hedgehog signaling is required for commitment but not initial induction of slow muscle precursors.

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Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1254, USA.


In zebrafish, skeletal muscle precursors can adopt at least three distinct fates: fast, non-pioneer slow, or pioneer slow muscle fibers. Slow muscle fibers develop from adaxial cells and depend on Hedgehog signaling. We analyzed when precursors become committed to their fates and the step(s) along their differentiation pathway affected by Hedgehog. Unexpectedly, we find that embryos deficient in Hedgehog signaling still contain postmitotic adaxial cells that differentiate into fast muscle fibers instead of slow. We show that by the onset of gastrulation, slow and fast muscle precursors are already spatially segregated but uncommitted to their fates until much later, in the segmental plate when slow precursors become independent of Hedgehog. In contrast, pioneer and non-pioneer slow muscle precursors share a common lineage from the onset of gastrulation. Our results demonstrate that slow muscle precursors form independently of Hedgehog signaling and further provide direct evidence for a multipotent muscle precursor population whose commitment to the slow fate depends on Hedgehog at a late stage of development when postmitotic adaxial cells differentiate into slow muscle fibers.

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